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The Body in the Lighthouse: A Faith Fairchild Mystery    by Katherine Hall Page Amazon.com order for
Body in the Lighthouse
by Katherine Hall Page
Order:  USA  Can
Arthur A. Levine, 2004 (2003)
Hardcover, Paperback
* *   Reviewed by G. Hall

In this thirteenth in her Body in the ... series starring Faith Fairchild, Katherine Hall Page has sent Faith and her family from their Aleford, Massachusetts home to vacation in picturesque Sanpere Island off the coast of Maine. A change of setting is often just what an older series needs, and this is no exception. Although the Fairchild mysteries are always reliably entertaining, there is only so much that can happen in a small town (unless of course the heroine is Jessica Fletcher).

Faith is a transplanted New Yorker, still adjusting to life with her minister husband Tom and two children in small town New England. Some of the best moments in the books are Faith's acerbic comments contrasting life in the big city to that of often insular villages. In this episode she has even more targets in the 'Down-East' Maine residents whose island roots are 'so deep they went below the aquifer into the ocean floor'.

The Fairchilds are on Sanpere to work on their new vacation home, at least Tom Fairchild is. Not exactly a handy-woman, Faith retreats with the children to the home of Ursula Rowe, mother of Faith's usual companion in crime Pix who's away on holiday. The very witty Ursula takes Pix's place nicely as a foil to Faith. But Ursula is not her usual happy self, since things are just not right on Sanpere Island.

As is happening in many places in New England and elsewhere, a battle is underway between locals, who want to preserve the natural beauty and relaxed pace of life, and developers hoping to profit from building mansions for affluent outsiders. An eco-terrorist group has formed and there have already been several incidents of property damage. Soon, one of the main developers is murdered, and his body found in the lighthouse near Ursula's home. With time on her hands, Faith is drawn into the investigation.

Though The Body in the Lighthouse does not have the heft of the previous Body in the Moonlight, which dealt with issues of racism, and it includes too much description of Sanpere Island's bucolic lifestyle for my taste, Faith is always an enjoyable companion when one desires comfort reading.

2nd Review by Mary Ann Smyth

Katherine Hall Page's thirteenth Faith Fairchild mystery is a cozy in every sense of the word. By now, Faith is a friend, one to be glad to welcome into your home. Just hope, though, that she doesn't discover that skeleton in your closet. Faith seems to attract dead bodies as honey attracts bees. Faith and her cleric husband are renovating their small vacation home on Sanpere Island off the coast of Maine. The Mainerisms are a delight right down to one 'ayuh'.

The first dastardly deed is turpentine in a soft drink bottle. An accident? Not deadly, but could have been. The body Faith finds at the foot of the island's lighthouse starts her methodical mind processing the second accident. Ecoterrists make an appearance, as does a feud that could erupt at any time between two families. The local hotshot realtor is busy making land deals almost before the deceased owners are settled in their graves.

Everyone is suspect and Faith fears for her life and those of her husband and children when she discovers another body no accident this time. The locale is easy to imagine and the characters are next door neighbors with a downeast accent. A delightful cozy, indeed. The only jarring note for me is the insertion of page numbers of recipes for some of the food being consumed. While the food sounds wonderful, that interruption of the flow is off-putting.

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